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Poetry in Translation (CXXIII): Reinaldo ARENAS (1943, Cuba – 1990 New York), Poet Cubanez – “My Lover the Sea” – “Iubita mea Marea” – “NIÑO VIEJO”

September 20th, 2012 · 4 Comments · International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

Reinaldo ARENAS, Cuban Dissident Poet, Exile (1943-1990)

Poetry in Translation (CXXIII): Reinaldo ARENAS (1943, Cuba – 1990 New York), Poet Cubanez – “My Lover the Sea” – “Iubita mea Marea” – “NIÑO VIEJO”

Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990)
Cuban revolutionary poet & author,
exiled in NYC under Castro

My Lover the Sea
I am that child with the round, dirty face
who on every corner bothers you with his
“can you spare a quarter?”

I am that child with the dirty face
no doubt unwanted
that from far away contemplates coaches
where other children
emit laughter and jump up and down considerably

I am that unlikeable child
definitely unwanted
with the round dirty face
who before the giant street lights or
under the grandames also illuminated
or in front of the little girls that seem to levitate
projects the insult of his dirty face

I am that angry and lonely child of always,
that throws you the insult of that angry child of always
and warns you:
if hypocritically you pat me on the head
I would take that opportunity to steal your wallet.

I am that child of always
before the panorama of imminent terror,
imminent leprosy, imminent fleas,
of offenses and the imminent crime.
I am that repulsive child that improvises a bed
out of an old cardboard box and waits,
certain that you will accompany me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Iubita mea – Marea
Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990)
Poet, autor si revolutionar Cuban,
exilat la New York

Sunt copilul acela cu faţa rotundă si murdară.
Care la orice colţ de stradă te plictiseşte cerşind:
“dă-mi un leu, domnule!”

Sunt copilul acela cu faţa murdară,
nedorit de nimeni
care dela distanţă priveşte autocarele
in care alţi copii
sunt plini de viaţă şi joacă sărind într-una în sus şi-n jos.

Sunt acel copil neiubit
mai mult chiar nedorit
cu faţa rotundă şi murdară
care sub felinarele străzilor sau
sub privirea matroanelor sub reflectoare
sau în faţa fetiţelor care par că dansează
îşi arată faţa murdară ca o insultă.

Sunt copilul mânios şi siguratic dintotdeauna
care îţi aruncă insulta lui de copil mânios dintotdeauna
care te pune în gardă
dacă mă vei mângâia pe cap, ca un ipocrit,
o sa profit să-ţi şterpelesc portofelul.

Sunt acel copil din totdeauna
în faţa panoramei iminentei terori,
iminentei lepre, iminenţilor purici,
a delicvenţei şi crimei iminente.
Sunt acel copil respingător care-şi improvizează un culcuş
făcut dintr-o cutie de carton, care te aşteaptă
convins că îl vei însoţi.

Versiune în limba Română
de Constantin Roman
Londra, 20 September 2011,
© 2012, Copyright Constantin Roman
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Yo soy ese niño de cara redonda y sucia
que en cada esquina os molesta con su
“can you spend one quarter”

Yo soy ese niño de cara sucia
-sin duda inoportuno –
que de lejos contempla los carruajes
donde otros niños emiten risas y saltos considerables.

Yo soy ese niño desagradable
-sin duda inoportuno –
de cara redonda y sucia que ante los grandes faroles
o bajo las grandes damas también iluminadas
o ante las niñas que parecen levitar
proyecta el insulto de su cara redonda y sucia

Yo soy ese niño hosco, más bien gris,
Que envuelto en lamentables combinaciones
pone una nota oscura sobre la nieve
o sobre el cesped tan cuidadosamente recortado
que nadie sino yo, porque no pago multas se atreve a pisotear.

Yo soy ese airado y solo niño de siempre
que os lanza el insulto del solo niño de siempre
y os advierte: si hipócritamente me acariciais la cabeza
aprovecharé la ocasión para levantarles la cartera.

Yo soy ese niño de siempre
ante el panorama del inminente espanto.
Ese niño, ese niño,
ese niño que corrompe el poema con su nota naturalista.
Ese niño, ese niño,
ese niño que impone arduos y aburridos ensayos
y hasta novelas, aún más aburridas, sobre “los bajos fondos”.
Ese niño, ese niño,
ese niño de cara airada y sucia que impone arduas
y siniestras revoluciones
para luego seguir con su cara aún más airada y sucia.
Ese niño, ese niño
ese niño ante el panorama siempre inminente
(sólo inminente)
del inminente espanto, de la inminente lepra, del inminente
del delito o del crimen inminentes.
Yo soy ese niño repulsivo que improvisa una cama
con cartones viejos y espera, seguro, que venga usted a
hacerle compañía.

Original Spanish version provided through the kind offices of
Mr. Ray Escamez, Madrid, to whom the Editor expresses his grateful thanks.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Reinaldo Arenas, 47, Writer Who Fled Cuba, Dies
Published: The New Yok Times, December 09, 1990

Reinaldo Arenas, a novelist who spent several years in prison in Cuba under Fidel Castro, committed suicide on Friday in his apartment in Manhattan, the police said. The 47-year-old author was suffering from AIDS, his literary agent, Thomas Colchie, said.
After a decade of struggling to become a successful writer in the United States, to which he escaped during the Mariel exodus from Cuba in 1980, Mr. Arenas at his death had five novels under contract as well as a recently completed autobiography.
Mr. Arenas’s works were not always easy going, leading one reviewer to say they were “in the sardonic nightmare tradition” of Francisco Gomez de Quevedo y Villegas, the picaresque 17th-century Spanish novelist, and of Goya, whose “black paintings” were of macabre subjects. Reviewing the novel “Farewell to the Sea” in The New York Times, Jay Cantor wrote: “Mr. Arenas is not interested in ordinary realistic drama. He wants to give the reader the secret history of the emotions, the sustaining victories of pleasure and the small dishonesties that callous the soul.” Teen-Age Revolutionary
Born in the rural Oriente province of Cuba on July 16, 1943, Mr. Arenas began writing as a child. He joined Castro’s revolution as a teen-ager and moved to Havana in 1961. He was a researcher in the Jose Marti National Library from 1963 to 1968.
In 1965, his novel “Singing From the Well,” was awarded first honorable mention by a committee of judges headed by Alejo Carpentier, the diplomat and Cuba’s most famous contemporary novelist. The book won the Prix Medici in France for the best foreign novel of 1969 but was never reprinted in his homeland because Mr. Arenas, like other homosexuals, had become the object of the Castro regime’s disfavor.
His second novel, published here in the late 1960’s by Harper & Row under the title “Hallucinations,” was never published in Cuba.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Ray

    Excelent tribute, Constant. Congratulations.


    CAN U HELP CLARIFY?????????????????

  • jose

    @ Jerry Becker. I believe the title used for the poem is an error. In spanish it is called Niño Viejo (Old Child)

    • editor

      Thanks for your observation: sadly I find it difficult to pinpoint the source although your comment makes sense: back to the drawing board!